Saturday, May 14, 2011

Plan A

On these trips he would have a vague plan A, a goal in view, for he had learned to appreciate planning during a wartime spell in the navy; but plans B and C might be good, too. Like Tristram Shandy, he preferred the apparently random and open-minded route. His scientific method was to gather huge amounts of data, with exuberant curiosity, in order to let some discovery surprise him. “Goal-oriented” institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health, found it hard to work with him, and he with them, but he would cheerfully decamp to freer places, such as the Institute for Cancer Research, which let him roam until relevance emerged from his roamings. “Expect the unexpected” was his motto—after Heraclitus, who said you could never step into the same river twice.

Barry Blumberg | The Economist

The late Barry Blumberg is the Nobel prize winner who came up with a vaccine for hepatitis B. His obituary describes his life journey and love for exploration that doesn't always lead to the desired goal, that's when plan B and C can turn surprisingly good!

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